Giga Chikadze is a name that the striking combat sports fans already knew way before he signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
After accumulating valuable experience in the kickboxing world, Chikadze switched to the four-ounce gloves in 2015. Thus far, the transition has been a smooth one. Chikadze is 9-2 in his MMA tenure and is still undefeated in his Ultimate Fighting Championship foray. In his latest Octagon appearance, he edged Jamall Emmers via split decision in their featherweight encounter at UFC 248.
“I’m very happy about the result, of course,” Chikadze said. “It was a great match, I think the fans enjoyed it because it was a controversial fight. We both came to fight, we are both warriors. He never backed up even though he knew I was a high-level striker. He came in and started exchanging with me on the feet. I was impressed with this. It was a really fun fight. I beat the guy in the first round and the second, the third round I think it was 50-50 but the judges gave it to him.”
Chikadze was supposed to compete at UFC Fight Night 169 in Norfolk, Va. on Feb. 29, but his scheduled opponent Mike Davis withdrew from the card and the promotion didn’t find a replacement. He then stepped in on short notice to fight Emmers when the latter’s original opponent — Movsar Evloev — pulled out the card for unknown reasons.
“I think he is a very strong fighter, very experienced. Everyone noticed that he is UFC level, I’m 100 percent sure he will do fine in the UFC and he will beat a lot of featherweights. He already beat some of the UFC guys in the past, like Alexander Hernandez.”
Even though Chikadze was impressed by Emmers’s performance, he doesn’t agree with the judge who gave the fight to “Prettyboy.” Per Chikadze, this should have been a unanimous decision victory.
“I was surprised one of the judges gave the fight to him,” Chikadze said. “It is what it is. I can’t complain because now I have a new victory. If you watch the fight, though, it’s super clear that I won the first two rounds. Maybe I would give him the third as he did a good job in pressuring me and he got a takedown in the end. Still, the first round was clearly mine. In the second round, he got a takedown, but then I got a sweep and I hit him hard in ground and pound.”
Fighting on the eve of International Women’s Day, the Kings MMA representative took his time in the post-fight interview to shout out to the women’s condition in the world and his home country in particular.
“I wanted to give my support for all the women around the world having hard times, especially in Georgia where there are a lot of abuses and situations against the women. Sometimes, there is even domestic violence. I just wanted to make clear that I support the women on the biggest stage in MMA.”
The 31-year old fighter is now taking some time off to relax with family, but he wants to underline that once he will be back in training, he will be ready for anyone.
“Right now, I’m taking the load off for some time. I’ve been training for this camp since November. Now I want to enjoy a little my family. But when anybody jumps out, I’m ready to take the chance even if it arises on eight days short notice. I’m always open to new opportunities."